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Teaching Indonesian youth about sustainable practices through eco-literacy

Petr Hindrich, Founder, and Directing Manager of green-books.org shares with us his thoughts, ideas and perspective on raising awareness about nature and sustainable practices in communities using children’s education and books as a starting point through an interview conducted by Stacy Hammond - the YPARD Europe Communications and Fundraising officer. Together with a couple of like-minded friends, he established this non-profit organization “green-books.org” with the aim of promoting eco-literacy which is the ability to understand natural systems that make life on earth possible, through his organization he promotes knowledge through 3 programs: Eco-Libraries, Eco-Activities, and Eco-Communities.

Petr was Born in Prost?jov in former Czechoslovakia. He holds an MBA and MA in Far East studies and is running Eco-Lodge homestay and permaculture garden in Bali, Indonesia.

Enjoy the interview below:

Stacy: Can you give a brief description of the project, its aims, mission, and vision?

Petr: Indonesia’s unique nature is in conflict with the world’s hunger for resources and domestic economy driven by a growing population of 250 million. Including 85 million children that are lacking environmental education. We at green-books.org raise awareness about nature and sustainable practices in communities across Indonesia using children’s education and books as a starting point.

Stacy: How did the idea come about?

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Welcoming the new YPARD Moldova representative: Cristina Conea

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Moldova representative Cristina Conea.

Cristina is currently undertaking her MSc studies at Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences (FTZ) in Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS) in Prague, Czech Republic where she is focused on International Development and Agricultural Economics. Cristina is currently preparing her Master Thesis on “Assessment of factors influencing the improvement of market access among collective actions of small farmers in Moldova”. At the same faculty, she successfully finished her Bachelors’ on Sustainable Rural Development in Tropics and Subtropics. In 2014 she got the opportunity to add a practical twist to her studies attending a Summer School Programme in Indonesia where she explored how agriculture is practiced in this remote part of the world. Today she is involved as a consultant in a project supported by Czech Development Agency on “Improving availability of drinking water to village population in the southern part of Moldova”.

Cristina’s path in agricultural development started when she was just in high school after the joining the “One World in Schools” programme, which is one of the educational programmes of the People in Need foundation that help educate responsible young people, who are getting their bearings in today’s world.

“Living abroad for 10 years I have understood that I want to contribute more to the agricultural development of Moldova. Thanks to international faculty at CULS where I have my studies I was given many offers to do research in other countries, but my mind was all the time switched back to where my roots are. Moldova is a country in transition and as never before it needs more responsible and conscious people to change things in the right direction. During my 4 years in International Development, I gathered certain knowledge that I would like to apply in my country. I am thankful to YPARD for giving me an excellent opportunity to share my voice with young Moldavians”.

If you are from or based in Moldova and would like to become involved in the YPARD Moldova activities please contact Cristina via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Welcoming the new YPARD Armenia representative: Anna Hovhannisyan

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Armenia representative Anna Hovhannisyan.

Anna is an MSc graduate of the Agribusiness Teaching Center of Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU). ATC is the collaborative effort of the ANAU, Texas A&M University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Marketing Assistance. Currently, she is working at the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) Foundation as a Marketing and Value Chain Expert in the “Markets for Meghri” (M4M) Project.

  Anna’s responsibilities in the M4M project are to focus on the horticultural sector in Meghri (In Armenia, Meghri is the region known for growing some subtropical fruits such as; fig, persimmon and pomegranate) to include market activities beyond the production at farm level: post-harvest handling, processing, trading, retail and export. Many of the project’s target group (poor households) are also involved in these activities, either as small-scale or home based processors (an activity in which many women are involved), as small traders or as employees of processing and retail/export companies.

Besides her work, Anna also has her own start-up agribusiness (Chir’s House). She founded a small dried fruit production in the village where she was borne and currently lives (Byurakan). In her farm, she grows organic strawberries under greenhouse conditions which she harvests and dries for tea production. She also has a tourist’s welcome center where tourists can visit the production, harvest strawberries and dry them with new technologies using solar energy.

Anna believes that becoming the new YPARD national representative in Armenia represents a new challenge for her to motivate the youth to contribute to developing the agricultural sector in the country. "Being a member of YPARD and seeing the impact the community can make, I believe it is a very useful and beneficial global platform and international networking system that can promote agriculture among young people. Becoming the YPARD Armenia country representative avails me the opportunity to add value in my present cultural context and inspire youth to love agriculture’.  

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The youth perspective - how can we improve the position of youth in agriculture?

Building on the positive outcomes from the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) and the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) Tropentag 2016 session YPARD Europe and IAAS Bonn decided to make it a tradition by organizing a second interactive session at Tropentag 2017 in Bonn, Germany.

The session focusing on the topic “Supporting youth in agriculture: how can we improve the position of youth in the sector?” was held on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 as a part of the pre-conference workshop. It involved approximately 30 participants; mainly young agricultural professionals, youth networks, partners, researchers and other agricultural stakeholders.

To begin the interactive session YPARD Europe Coordinator Libuska Valesova and the Communications and Fundraising Officer Stacy Hammond as well as the IAAS World Vice President of Exchange Program Paulina Elena Manthey introduced the two platforms to the participants followed by an icebreaker where participants got to learn about each other and the motivations that led them to the agricultural sector thus, a better understanding of their vision(s) for agricultural development.

Small discussion groups were then formed to cover topics such as present realities of youth in agriculture and changes in the last ten years, actions present generation can take to improve the position of youth in the sector, different perceptions between different stakeholders, identify the crucial actions needed for active participation of youth in agriculture, youth expectations from youth-focused organizations in helping to reach their vision and what services provided by them are deemed most valuable.

Present realities of youth in agriculture

The group discussion started with reviewing the present realities of youth in agriculture all participants coming from different regions (Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa) agreed that we all face similar realities in agriculture these may vary per region but overall the principle is the same. These may have changed over the past ten years and may be positive or negative.

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Welcoming the new YPARD Albania representative: Bledar Meta

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Albania representative Bledar Meta.

Bledar has completed his Bachelor studies at the Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Economics and Agribusiness, at the Agribusiness Management branch. After graduating, he participated in various training courses, one of which was training for Enterprise Management in Vienna-Austria, at the Institute of Professional Training “WIFI Austria”.

He graduated from Szent Istvan University in Gödöll? / Budapest-Hungary with a master's degree in Rural Development and Agribusiness. Before he started his graduate studies he worked for two years at an Albanian company a representative of the Austrian company Schaumann in Albania where his responsibilities covered activities such as warehouse management and logistics, assistance to the company's finance department, customer service, and control the progress of the import procedures and orders of products from Austria as well as cash daily money management.

Bledar expresses that during his work at this company he had the opportunity to implement his professional knowledge and personal skills and has also provided him with the practical training on how to do multiple tasks at the same time, how to meet up with deliverables while under high pressure.

He learned to work with colleagues in an accurate and efficient way to contribute to teamwork and many other things. With a strong interest in contributing to the sustainable development of rural areas, he expresses that institutions and societies should pay special attention to sustainable development of rural areas which play a pivotal role in reducing rural-urban migration.

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Join us at Tropentag 2017! YPARD – IAAS workshop on improving the position of youth in agriculture

Young agricultural professionals what actions do you as the present and future generation wish today’s custodians had taken to improve the agricultural sector? What strategies can you take now for improving positions of young people in agriculture?

To explore what actions the present generation in agricultural development wish today’s custodians had taken to improve the position of young people in the agricultural sector and what strategies can be taken now for future benefits? YPARD Europe and the International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) are organizing a workshop at the 2017 annual interdisciplinary conference on research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, natural resource management and rural development (TROPENTAG) which is taking place on September 20 - 22, 2017, organised by the University of Bonn and the Center for Development Research, Bonn, Germany.

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, September 19th as a pre-conference activity and will explore with young agricultural professionals, youth networks, partners, researchers, recent graduates, university heads and other agricultural stakeholders. What actions can the youth take now to contribute to the improvement of the agricultural sector for future generations and will continue to explore what actions the present generation in agricultural development wish today’s custodians had taken and how YPARD and IAAS can contribute more to this issue.

As youth platforms, advocating for young professionals in agriculture YPARD and IAAS will explore the main strategies for improving positions of young people in agricultural sectors as well as their desires and expectations from youth focused organizations and what are their expectations for youth based platforms such as YPARD and IAAS for contributing more in this issue.

How to join the workshop

You can join by simply sending an email to the workshop organizers:

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  • Germany
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YPARD Europe is heading to the 28th international leadership workshop for rural youth

Three YPARD Europe delegates (Hana Voca YPARD Kosovo country representative, Anna Hovhannisyan member of YPARD Armenia working team and Seher Gümü? YPARD Turkey country representative) are heading to the 28th international leadership workshop for rural youth that will be held in Herrsching, Germany from the 9th to 22nd of August 2017.

The workshop is organized every other year by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture with the main objective to equip participants with the skills to help young people in rural areas to improve their living conditions. These youth work leaders will gain qualifications for their local, regional and supra-regional tasks with new, modern contents and methods. They will be inspired to take on responsibility for the sustainable development in their region and learn to plan, organize and conduct their own activities and campaigns to suit their requirements. Through the international exchange of experiences and build-up of a network of experts during the workshop, the participants will be given important impulses for rural youth work in their home countries. In this way, experiences and knowledge can be shared even after the workshop has ended.

At the event, they will share their visions as rural youth leaders and will shed light on the mission and vision of YPARD to all participants present through a presentation that will not only portray the activities of YPARD Europe but will also show the work that YPARD is doing on a global scale. These participants are attending the event with a mindset of improving their skills as youth leaders and YPARD country representatives.

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  • Germany
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Welcoming the new YPARD Sweden representative: Sunil Abeyasekera

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Sweden representative Sunil Abeyasekera

Sunil is currently undertaking MSc. Studies in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden. His research interests focus on the relationship between food security and climate change, and its effect on local livelihoods. He is also interested in the geopolitics of waters, and the implications of the virtual water trade. He will soon be conducting his master’s thesis research within his field of study.

Sunil’s interest in food security and climate change stemmed during his BSc in Chemistry at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom which he completed in 2013. During his studies, he had the opportunity to work at Dow AgroSciences, New Zealand, where he saw the need of pesticides towards achieving food security, and the innovations required to adapt to the increasing prevalence of pests.

After graduating, Sunil worked as a commodities trader for iBasis, London, where he worked in a highly globalized marketplace and strategically increased sales through his business development skills, as well as growing his customers’ accounts. Nevertheless, his interests in climate change and environmental issues persisted and in 2015 he worked at the Institute of Experimental Botany, Czech Republic, where he participated in a land regeneration project. The project involved rehabilitating an old coal processing facility through “green” methods to transform the site into a more safe and hospitable site.

He has recently been working closely with SIANI by assisting the team at events, through hosting the round table discussions and also providing social media coverage. He has also published a blog for SIANI on the FAO, OECD and UNCDF report on “Adopting a Territorial Approach to Food Security and Nutrition Policy”, which outlined a bottom-up approach to rural transformation. Sunil has had the opportunity to meet influential actors during the Youth, Agripreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals seminar hosted by SIANI and SIDA, and realized the growing demand of youth in agriculture, which he hopes to address as his role as the Sweden Country Representative at YPARD.

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Youth, agriculture and the agri-food sector- An interview with Francesca Allievi, President of the BCFN Alumni Group

Francesca Allievi - the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) Alumni group Operative President shares with us her thoughts, ideas and perspective on issues related to youth, agriculture and the agri-food sector through an interview conducted by Libuska Valesova - the YPARD Europe Coordinator.

Francesca is an experienced, educated and active agricultural professional who believes in the value of food as a communication means for a cultural and political message, necessary for a sustainable development of today's society. In 2007 she obtained a Master’s of Science in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering from Politecnico di Milano university.

She is currently a Ph.D. student at University of Turku, with a thesis on the impacts and future trends of meat and dairy products consumption. In 2012, she was a finalist in the BCFN Young Earth Solutions competition, with an idea for an application of the Double Pyramid concept to food labels. Since 2014 she cooperates with ArBio, Association for the Resilience of the Forest to the Inter-oceanic highway, which operates in Peru for the sustainable development and protection of the Amazon forest.Read more on her bibliography here.

Enjoy the interview below:   

Libuska:  As a researcher within the agri-sector, what youth strategies do you consider pivotal to improve the young professional's position in the agri-food sector?

Francesca: My wish would be to have more chances to make our voice heard where it matters. Consider the implications of reserving a place for young researchers in, for example, multi-stakeholder initiatives dealing with food issues: the added value of that point of view, I believe, would be beneficial for everyone and would enhance the relevance and dignity of the youth.

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Fostering cooperation- YPARD Europe and the BCFN Alumni group

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation (BCFN Foundation) is a private non-profit apolitical institution, working as a multidisciplinary and independent think tank. The foundation has a strong focus on determining the effect of economic, scientific, social and environmental factors on food. The foundation also offers valuable scientific content that inform and help people to make conscious daily choices about healthy living, sustainability, food and nutrition. The main mission of the foundation is to promote an open dialogue between Science, Politics, Business and Society to push the big topics relating to food, nutrition, wellbeing and the health of our Planet into the agendas of national and international opinion leaders and decision makers.

BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) and its Alumni group

In 2012 the BCFN foundation first launched the BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) - an international competition for young researchers from all over the world. The competition aims at rewarding the best ideas about food and sustainability. The 2017 Research Grant Competition is designed for individual or multidisciplinary and cross-national research teams of a maximum of three components. See here for more details on this year’s call for participants.

BCFN Alumni group are represented by the young finalists BFCN YES! The vision of the BCFN Alumni group is to make the best use of the potential of the young people involved with the issues of agri-food sustainability around the World. The objective of the group is to create a community of active and committed Alumni, which, through projects and other activities, contribute to the development of a more sustainable food system. YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) shares a similar vision and mission to serve as a collective global network that enables young professionals to realize their full potential and contribute proactively towards innovative and sustainable agricultural development. YPARD has also introduced the BCFN YES competition among its global community of young professionals in agriculture development.

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To Marina….From the YPARD family….With love

It is not on an everyday basis that you meet a game changer who puts all s/he has into the work s/he does. And to the YPARD network, Marina the former communications manager is one of these gamechangers.

When the moment to say, adios, goodbye, see you soon, talk to you later and all those words you say when someone is about to leave finally came, there was an outpouring of love and we thought, why not capture those moments, those memories and share them with her? So, we reached out to the YPARD Country chapters and asked them to share a message of less than 200 words along with a photo of their encounter with Marina if they had any.The compilation of those messages has resulted to this blogpost.

If her moving testimonial for the YPARD 10 Years celebrations did not move you, then we promise these messages will do. We have left them unedited and in the languages they were sent in…….

To you our dearest Marina Cherbonnier, This is not a farewell message.It is just the YPARD way of collectively expressing our appreciation to all your hard work and accomplishments in YPARD as the communications and knowledge manager. And even though you officially left the YPARD GCU, you will never stop being a part of the YPARD family.

Enjoy reading……..  aaaaaand someone pass Marina the tissue……

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Welcoming YPARD Germany Representative: Johannes Dreer

We are delighted to welcome our very first YPARD Germany Country representative: Johannes Dreer

Johannes is a Master’s graduate in economics and business administration from the Fernuniversität in Hagen. He was raised, and still lives on his family farm, where he learnt the basics of farming and rural life. From 1998 until 2001, together with his father, he managed the family dairy farm of 40 milk cows in a 50ha agricultural land, before reducing the farming business to just managing the owned land without keeping livestock. Today he manages grasslands and does apiculture. 

In 2001, he started studying economics and business administration to get an overall background of the economic life. After graduating in 2006 with an economics degree and in 2008 with a business administration Master’s degree from the Fernuniversität in Hagen, he worked as a freelancer for research institutes in the field of agriculture and rural development such as IfLS/ Frankfurt and LfL/ München to backup his consulting startup business Hof und Leben GmbH (HuL)" for farmers in Southern Germany. 

The HuL startup was launched in 2009 after a detailed business planning process. It is a private independent enterprise designed to provide consultations for farmers in Southern Germany. Johannes and his co-founder work side by side with farmers to increase the benefits on the farm in areas such as optimizing production structure or increasing share in value addition along the food chain (food, feed, fiber resources for industries). Besides consulting, HuL is also engaged in projects on the European level that are focused on additional capacity building and training for farmers in fields of multifunctional farming, succession, cooperation, innovation, etc.

Through his daily work in consulting farmers, European projects and his own farming activities, he expresses that, he has firsthand experience with the direct and positive effects of sustainable farming for rural areas and for society as a whole. He understands that sustainable farming faces many challenges and that there are many things to be changed, rethought, adapted and done for the future needs of this sector. This is not only in farming itself but also in circumstances of farming, nutrition habits as well as energy and resources habits together with the respective value chains.

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Welcoming YPARD Spain country representative: Víctor Suárez Villanueva.

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Spain country representative Víctor Suárez Villanueva.

Victor is a graduate of Agriculture Engineering from the Universidad de León, Spain .During his bachelor studies, he attended two exchange programs (ERASMUS and AMICUS) where he spent one semester at École Superieur d´Agriculture d´Angers, France and one year at the University of Vermont, USA. In addition to that, he has completed the Agris Mundus MSc in Sustainable Agricultural Development, a collaboration course between the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Montpellier-SupAgro France, and did his master´s thesis research at ICRAF Kenya relating to manure management practices with reduced GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.

From the early age of 14 he became interested in learning new cultures and how they understand agriculture. Ever since then, he has developed a growing interest in this field, which has enabled him to work in various countries. For instance, in 2012 he conducted a research in ornamental plants in the USA at Longwood Gardens, researched on plant breeding for fruit trees at East Malling Research, UK, in 2013, and this past year, he conducted investigations on biofertilizers at the Natural Resource Institute of Universidad de Leon, Spain.

The common point among the activities he carried out has always been the research in agriculture from a sustainable perspective. For this reason, he recently joined the Sustainable Agriculture research group at Universidad de León where he is currently a Ph.D. student with a focus on organic farming practices to control woody pests´ on grapevines.

He believes that research has a tremendous power to change the world for the better and as such, has always wanted to attain a broader public view for new ideas in research. He considers this to be a critical issue in research, where a lot of important research stays hidden from the mass media. YPARD as a network could really broaden the recipients of new discoveries in the field of agriculture, and this is something to take into consideration as YPARD offers a great network to connect with other researchers around the world working on similar topics.

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Welcoming our new YPARD Europe Communications and Fundraising Intern: Hana Khanh

We are delighted to welcome our new Communication and Fundraising intern for YPARD Europe, Hana Khanh.

Hana is currently a master’s student in International Development and Agricultural Economics at the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS), where she focusses on seeking an effective practical distributing model and improving the value chain of tropical products, enhancing international agriculture cooperation in her home country of Vietnam as well as in other developing countries.  She holds Bachelors in International Cooperation from the Foreign Trade University in Vietnam. Previously, she worked for a start-up named Growth Catalyst Vietnam and for SeA bank as a relationship analyst, coordinating the organization with other international partners, clients in Southeast Asia and international institutions. During that time, she also actively participated in various social activities of her environmental club such as organizing an Eco-tour to organic gardens for primary pupils, encouraging NGOs and the young people to get more involved in sustainable businesses of agricultural products or calling more than one hundred students in Hanoi to volunteer in Green Pause 2.

Through those experiences, she has built a burning interest to apply her communication skills and digital marketing tools to contribute and strengthen the connection among farmers, enterprises and agricultural experts, to make progress in agricultural development. Hana considers working as an intern in the large platform of YPARD Europe a step further towards achieving her goals and interests in agriculture and agricultural development.

As the YPARD Europe Communication and Fundraising intern, Hana plans to utilize her skills and experiences to extend the network of YPARD. She considers digital marketing via social networks and, emails as one of the most trending and effective tools today for improvement in agriculture. For her “ nothing is useless if you know how to connect them together. Every separate part of your past will come in handy at a certain time. Similarly, every part of our big world, every country, everyone can be beneficial when we cooperate with each other”.

In her perspective, this new role is both an interesting challenge and a precious opportunity in her career to encourage the engagement of the youth in spreading information, the know-hows and, opportunities in agriculture. She hopes to increase the involvement of young professionals, proactively with new approaches and innovations in agriculture.

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Welcoming the YPARD Austria country representative: Nikolaus Hruschka

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Austria country representative Nikolaus Hruschka

Nikolaus graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria, and continued his academic career with a M.Sc. double degree in Organic Agricultural Systems and Agroecology at BOKU and Hohenheim University.

Over the years, his passion for learning from locals and first hand experiences has led him to the remotest areas in the Middle East, West/East Africa, as well as through North/South America. During his academic studies, he worked with the department of sustainable agricultural systems (division of organic farming) at BOKU and contributed to lectures and course materials related to tropical and subtropical organic agricultural systems. In addition, he planned a pilot project /demonstration plot to assess the possibility of locally available rock –based soil inputs for the Agro-Geologist Association and the Mukono rural agricultural research and development institute (MUZARDI) in Uganda.

For his master thesis, Nikolaus, in cooperation with the University of Hohenheim and the Sabab Lou foundation, conducted field research in Chereponi, north-eastern Ghana with the aim of finding alternative sustainable livestock and crop production options for the Anoshe Women Group. These experiences have given him extensive intercultural insight into development, poverty and the need for sustainable and responsible resource use.

His first interaction with the YPARD team was during the 2016 Tropentag conference held in Vienna. After a lengthy conversation with Marina Cherbonnier the former YPARD Communications and Knowledge Manager on the need of initiating an active YPARD network in Austria, he decided to join the YPARD team to initiate the Austrian chapter.

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With love from Europe. Happy 10th anniversary YPARD!

This year, YPARDians are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the very special YPARD in different ways, all over the world. 

YPARD Europe celebrated this special occasion on the 8-9th November, 2016 during the 3rd International Tropical Biodiversity Conservation Conference (TBCC) in Prague, Czech Republic. Celebrating this milestone anniversary with over 100 young agricultural researchers, activists and university students attending this event was the best gift that we could ask for as YPARD Europe. We ceased this moment and opportunity to wish all YPARDians a big happy birthday. 

As young professionals in the field, we surely celebrated the hard but also worked hard at the TBCC, an international conference organized by the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences of Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (FTZ, CULS Prague). This conference took place not only in Prague but also in Mexico on October, 2016 with a wide range of topics concerning biodiversity conservation in tropical regions of the world. The presentations and discussions in the conference attracted many agriculturists, researchers and students for two days.  

YPARD Europe actively participated in the conference with an informative booth and presentations and the   Communication and Fundraising intern Stacy Hammond  introduced her YPARD family to all and sundry during the second day. 

As it is always a pleasure and passion to talk about YPARD’s vision, mission and activities and attracting people to the YPARD booth was not difficult. It was interesting to learn that many students were not familiar with YPARD activities and  were often unaware of what opportunities they can get from it. 

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Welcoming the YPARD Turkey Country representative: Seher Gümü?

We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Turkey Country representative Seher Gümü?

Seher is a graduate of the Hacettepe University, Ankara / Turkey with a bachelors degree in food engineering. During her studies, she worked as a research assistan at the food engineering department.Currently, she is a self-employed project writer and manager in central Turkey, where she works with small scale local farmers in her home town, helping them receive funding from governmental sources in order to improve their production capacity and facilities.

Additionally, she also works with local farmers to devise better ways of building more sustainable food supply chains between small producers and consumers as she is more interested in reducing the gaps of small farmers’ access to the market. Her main focus is to support and develop the local economy. 

In 2012, she was awarded with an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study a double degree master program, called “AgrisMundus” whose main focus was on Sustainable Development in Agriculture. In her first year of study at the University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland, the program focused on “Cooperative Organisations, Food Marketing and Rural Development”. Upon completing her first year of studies, she then moved to Montpellier, France for her second year, where she studied “Resources, Agricultural Systems and Development” in Montpellier SupAgro. During her study period in France,Seher went to the Cordillera Region in the Philippines to do a 3 months field research where she worked in corporation with the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) under the “Heirloom Rice Project”.

The focus of the research was to analyze the socio-economic, cultural and environmental aspects of planting heirloom rice varieties and investigate the existing and potential value chains supplying heirloom rice to local, domestic and international markets. After the field research she returned to France to defend her Master thesis on January, 2015 in "Montpellier SupAgro" which was based on the research she carried out in the Philippines through the project and  thereafter obtained her second degree. 

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YPARD Europe says present at the SIMPLE project kickoff meeting in Prague

SIMPLE (Support of International Platform Merging Labour and Education) is an new EU project coordinated by the  Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences at the CULS ( Czech University of Life Sciences) in Prague.

The project has been running since October 2016 and will end in October 2019 with its main objective  to encourage cooperation between academic (HEIs) and professional sector in areas of agriculture and life sciences in selected Asian countries (Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand) .This is mainly geared at enhancing the employability of participating universities alumni.

The project aims at enhancing employability of the partner universities alumni by supporting networking and providing the link among graduates (alumni) and employers; establishing Alumni Centres and Platforms for Cooperation with Professional Sector; improving the curriculum of study programmes at HEIs in selected Asian universities; introducing compulsory internships leading to more practical knowledge and better skills of the alumni and enhancing soft skills of the Asian students.

The project is coordinated by (CULS Prague) and will be carried out with partner universities of Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand and alonside project associates such as:  Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association in Germany (ESAA), Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association in Thailand (EMA), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development (AGRINATURA), Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture(SEARCA), and The Czech Forum for Development Cooperation (FORS).

The kickoff meeting,held in Prague on October 24th- 25th  sought to identify and create the best conditions to link the alumni with the professional sector in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand and set up cooperation for the whole project period. 

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Welcoming YPARD Netherlands Country Representative: Ingrid Flink

We are delighted to welcome the YPARD Netherlands country representative, Ingrid Flink.

Ingrid is a graduate with a Master’s degree in Applied Communication Science specialising in Food and Health at the Wageningen University, Netherlands. She is currently a Junior Advisor at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) for the Sustainable Economic Development and Gender unit and a member of the Prolinnova network, hosted by KIT. On the position, Ingrid mainly supports country partners in Latin America and the francophone African countries whose interest is in promoting innovation by youth in agri-­?food initiatives.. Besides playing a leading role in the development of a new thematic cluster on youth and farmer-led innovation in the Prolinnova network, she was also involved in qualitative research on the aspirations, opportunities and challenges of youth’s agricultural livelihoods in dryland systems for the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA). She has furthermore reviewed the CRP Maize & Wheat full proposals on youth-related researchable issues and supported CRP Livestock and Fish on a literature review on youth’s engagement in the livestock sector.

Previously, Ingrid worked on various sustainable food campaigns such as the ‘Que Rico es: comer sano y de mi tierra’ in Ecuador, as well as The Fairtrade Municipality campaign in the Netherlands, where involved municipalities would receive the label of Fairtrade Municipality if they aligned with campaign criteria.

Its with this excitment and great energy that Ingrid takes on the task of being the YPARD representative in Netherlands.Ingrid believes in the power of networking, as described in her YPARD article, where she expresses that “shining the spotlight on an important stakeholder group, youth in YPARD’s case, is the first step towards changing perceptions and relations in agricultural innovation systems. And being part of a network of people pursuing this aim and encouraging each other gives me the confidence (and new ideas!) to try to bring about change in agricultural and rural development”.

She has this to say on the account of joining YPARD;

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Student Leadership and Transformative Changes to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century

Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Plan with them. Build with what they have. Teach by showing. Learn by doing. When the best leader’ work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say “we have done it ourselves.”

Lao Tzu, founder of Tao philosophy, 700 B.C.

Agricultural topics have gained currency over the past few decades due to their relevance for establishing food and nutrition security, wealth creation and transforming lives.

At the core of this shift is a demand for qualified young professionals who would take charge of the sector and drive the change. As statistical bureaus continue to express their concerns over the ageing farmer population coupled with the worrying trend among young agriculture graduates who often lack relevant skills and practical knowledge, the future of agriculture continues to be unclear.

Looking at the education system of Sub-Saharan Africa, and in many other developing countries, undergraduate programs are often too reliant on textbook materials, with very little or no practical exercises, business ethics classes or lectures on leadership and communication. Under such conditions, unprepared graduates often seek to work outside of agriculture due to poor qualifications or inability to start their own business.

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